VIDEO: The trailer for The Garden
The title of Scott Hamilton Kennedy's complex, provocative, ultimately uplifting documentary invariably calls to mind Genesis, and parallels can be drawn. After the LA riots in 1992, the city offered up a 14-acre parcel of land as a communal garden to a largely Latino neighborhood in South Central.
An aerial shot shows a rectangle of green in the middle of miles of city blight. A montage shows happy farmers holding ears of corn to feed their families. Then the fall: the developer who originally owned the land reclaims it. A court somehow agrees, and the farmers are given a deadline to vacate.
They organize, activist lawyer Dan Stormer takes the case, Daryl Hannah pitches in. Good and evil, right? In fact, the lines blur as corruption and dissension are uncovered and the race and ethnic cards — African-American, Latino, and Jewish — are pulled from various sleeves. All politics may not be local, but effective political documentaries tend to be.